If you don't know me in person and/or follow me on Facebook, my last post might require a little explanation. My sister was in the hospital from 08/27 until 09/09. I had started several posts on my feelings about this whole experience, but I obviously didn't end up publishing any of them. They were way too personal; I couldn't bear the thought of my raw feelings spilled onto the internet. So I will be keeping those private where no-one can see them (except maybe Kylie, since they are about her - but only maybe). Now that the worst part is over (I hope), I feel like I can talk about it in the vaguest of terms. That is, I'll give you a list of what has happened and very little more.
Sunday afternoon my mum showed up at my house unannounced. This, on its own is not too unusual, but we were still experiencing the remnants of hurricane Irene. So it seemed a little weird to me that she would just happen to stop by. I knew something was very wrong right away - everything just instantly felt "off" - but my heart just about dropped out when she told me that Kylie was in the hospital. Apparently she fell down the stairs to her bedroom on Friday. Even though she was fine when I saw her Friday night, this somehow caused her to be unable to breathe Saturday night. Her friends got worried and took her to the emergency room where they were unable to figure out a cause for her shortness of breath. From there she had been admitted to the ICU where she was remained, sedated with a breathing tube. I wanted see her right away, but my mum said I'd better not, since it would just upset me. Then she left to go back to the hospital. I managed to keep it together until she left, but after that I pretty much just collapsed onto the sofa in a fit of tears, where I remained for the rest of the weekend.
I spent Monday worrying, until it was decided that I could finally go and see her after work. I got very angry during the course of the day. Why, I wondered, hadn't anyone deemed it necessary to tell me about this until Sunday afternoon when she had gone to the hospital Saturday night? And why did my parents get to decide when I could and could not see her? So what if I get upset? I am 27 years old - I think this is the sort of decision I should get to make on my own. And why hadn't Kylie called me if she needed to be rushed to the hospital? I am her sister - shouldn't that count for something? By the time I actually got to the hospital that afternoon, I was so consumed with worry and anger that I am not even sure how I drove my car.
Seeing her in that bed, hooked up to all of those machines, was very nearly my undoing. My sister, who is so full of life, was still and silent in a hospital bed. Her heart was fast, her blood oxygen was low, and she was running a 104 degree temperature. She didn't even look like herself. She was all greys and purples, with puffy eyes and limp limbs. No-one was sure why this was happening and all of the tests were coming back negative. All I wanted were answers, reassurances, and no-one could give them to me.
Nothing had prepared me for this eventuality. You spend your whole life realizing that someday you might have to see your parents this way, but never had I ever expected that anything could happen to my sister. Not Kylie. She's the healthy, vibrant, damage-proof sister - nothing can take her down. How did this even happen?
I went to the hospital every day and sat there watching her sleep until 9:00 at night. After that I went home and generally just fell asleep. It felt like we had been living this way my entire life - I couldn't remember a time before Kylie was in the hospital. What did I do with all of that time? The week went on, each day bringing its own set of feelings. Monday was terrible, Tuesday was worse. Wednesday was a little better, but Thursday was awful again for some reason I couldn't quite place. On Friday things started to look up, but I still cried several times a day - at work, at home, at the hospital. She improved drastically over the weekend, so they decided to start weaning her off of the ventilator on Monday. She did so well with her weaning that they took her off of the ventilator entirely on Tuesday. Oh happy day! I left work, abandoning payroll, to see her soon after she woke up. She was whispering and a little loopy, but she was Kylie. Talking and laughing and moving around. It was the best day I've ever had. Wednesday they moved her out of intensive care, Thursday she had her first shower in almost two weeks, and Friday they released her.
Now that she is home and, God willing, in the clear, I thought I would feel much happier and stress-free. But that isn't the case so far. I feel a certain... emptiness. Like I am not sure what to do with myself. I am still worried about her; I am still crying. I feel like something is missing from my life. I have an ache in my chest. My heart has been broken and will slowly need to be stitched back together. I wasn't even the one in the hospital and I don't think I'll ever fully recover from this.
I just hope that after all of this, she realizes that I love her and would be forever lost without her.